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Volkmar Wentzel Papers

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At A Glance

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  • Creator

    Wentzel, Volkmar Kurt, 1915-2006
  • Dates

  • Physical Description

    59 Items (items (5 linear ft.), 20 x 24 or smaller)
  • Collection ID


  • Scope and Contents

    Papers, 1947-1994, of photographer and author Volkmar Kurt Wentzel, regarding a two year survey conducted for the National Geographic Society during 1946-1947, to visually document caves, temples, and sculpture of India, including: his typescript draft (photocopy), [after 1946], written for the National Geographic Magazine on the Ajanta and Ellora temples; a proof, 1953, of his article entitled "India's Sculptured Temple Caves"; a lecture typescript entitle "A Walter Mitty Fantasy," presented to the Literary Society, 1994, along with a brochure and checklist for his related exhibition of photographs of Indian rock-cut temples and sculptures held at the Cosmos Club, Washington, D.C.; and 54 photographs, silver prints and five cibachromes, 1947, many signed by the photographer, dated, and captioned. Photographs depict the temples, sculpture, and frescoes of Ellora, Ajanta, Khajuraho, Halebid, Fatehpur Sikri, and Red Fort ,Delhi.
  • Biographical / Historical

    Volkmar Kurt Wentzel (1915-2006) was an accomplished photographer, particularly in the 1940's. Born in Dresden, Germany, he emigrated to the United States at around the age of 20 and immediately began work as a photojournalist at Underwood and Underwood. He served as an aerial photographer and photo-intelligence officer during World War II. After the war he spent extensive time photographing Ladakh (western Tibet), Nepal, and India. He photographed widely in the United States, Europe, and Africa as well. He wrote and documented photographically cave temples in India as a correspondent for the National Geographic Society between 1946-1946. He received many accolades for his photography and has exhibited his work both in the United States and abroad.
  • Local Numbers

    FSA A1998.02
  • Photographer

    Wentzel, Volkmar Kurt, 1915-2006
  • Place

    Ajanta Caves (India)
    Ellora Caves (India)
    Khajuraho (India)
    Fatehpur Sikri (India)
    Lal Qila (Delhi, India)
  • Topic

    Indian art
    Cave temples
  • Custodial History

    Donated by Volkmar Wentzel, 1998
  • Archival Repository

    Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
  • Type

    Collection descriptions
    Archival materials
  • Citation

    Volkmar Wentzel Papers. FSA.A1998.02. National Museum of Asian Art Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Arrangement

    Records; Organized in four boxes ; Arranged by form of material: Boxes 1-3: Photographs. Box 4: Typescript, Brochure, Printed Material, Photographs.
  • Genre/Form

    Photographs -- 1940-1950 -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin
    Photographs -- 1940-1950 -- Color -- Reproductions
  • Restrictions

    Collection is open for research.

Repository Contact

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
National Museum of Asian Art Archives
Washington, D.C. 20013